Jehovah’s Witnesses returning to in-person meetings

Congregation resume services after meeting virtually for two years

Posted 3/23/22

CLAY COUNTY – All congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses across the world are being encouraged to begin holding in-person meetings during the week of April 1.

George and Judy Keith are Clay …

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Jehovah’s Witnesses returning to in-person meetings

Congregation resume services after meeting virtually for two years

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – All congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses across the world are being encouraged to begin holding in-person meetings during the week of April 1.

George and Judy Keith are Clay County residents in Middleburg. When asked how they felt about in-person meetings, Keith said, “Both my wife and I were over overjoyed. We moved right in the middle of the pandemic to a new congregation in Green Cove Springs. We knew some in the area but very few. Our meetings over the Zoom- videoconferencing was a real blessing. But Jehovah’s people are ‘people-people’ we need to shake hands, hug, and look into one another’s faces. We will love to be able to do those things once again.”

For most of the last two years, buildings for worship have remained closed globally due to the risks associated with meeting in person. Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States also suspended their public ministry on March 20, 2020. Since that time, they have carried on their ministry through letters and phone calls while holding twice-weekly meetings in a virtual format. Average attendance at these meetings exceeded 1.5 million each week in the U.S., even though there are fewer than 1.3 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in some 13,000 congregations.

“There is a collective shout of joy among Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world right now,” said Robert Hendriks, a U.S. Spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “While we have prospered in many ways as individuals and congregations using technology to bring us together, nothing can adequately replace being together in person. We have longed for this moment for the better part of two years.

“The timing of resuming in-person meetings could not be better. Bringing everyone back together for these special events will have a powerful effect on the worldwide congregation.”

Guidelines for holding “hybrid” meetings have been sent to all congregations in the United States. Over the past six months, many Kingdom Halls have been equipped with the required technology to hold a productive meeting that allows for in-person and remote attendees, all of whom can participate in the discussions. A pilot program was held in October and November in countries around the world to assess how this could be done most effectively. The lessons learned in these pilot meetings have helped form the plan for moving forward with reopening all Kingdom Halls, where the law permits.

As of now, Jehovah’s Witnesses have no plans to resume their public ministry, though their “alternative” ministry continues. In fact, since the start of the pandemic through November 2021 in the United States, Jehovah’s Witnesses spent more than 400 million hours in virtual Bible studies, writing letters of comfort to their neighbors and making phone calls. They have released 77 new language translations of the Bible and held two global virtual conventions in more than 500 languages.

“No time was wasted in the past two years,” said Hendriks. “Our congregants have been busy and productive helping each other and their neighbors through this most challenging time. That’s what love and unity are all about.”

For more information on Jehovah’s Witnesses go to jw.org.

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